Well before the current incarnation, and even before his unfortunate association with a famous bad movie, Howard the Duck was… one of Marvel Comics’ strangest characters, created and written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by a parade of artists… perhaps most famously, Frank Brunner. Well now this July Marvel is putting together a good part of the cosmic fowl’s early adventures in Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection. ” Howard the Duck takes an adventure into fear when he is plucked from Duckworld and finds himself on Earth, bill to proboscis with the melancholy muck-monster Man-Thing! Stuck here on a planet of hairless apes, the furious fowl forges a future for himself in, of all places, Cleveland. But the would-be Master of Quack-Fu will have his wings full hanging out with Spider-Man and waging ‘waaaugh’ with madcap menaces like the Space Turnip, the Cookie Creature, the Beaver and Doctor Bong. Will that earn him a spot on the Defenders?” We’ll soon find out! Other fine illustrators you’ll find in this more-than-400-page full-color trade paperback (and this is just Volume 1!) include Val Mayerik, John Buscema, Gene Colan, and Sal Buscema. Barnes & Noble has more.
Recent announcement from D23, the officially-sanctioned Disney fan club: Following the success of the first 5-issue miniseries (and the subsequent graphic novel compilation), Figment will return this fall in a brand-new full-color series from Marvel. “Figment 2 will be written by Jim Zubkavich (aka “Jim Zub”) and penciled by Ramon Bachs, and it’ll pick up where the first series left off—but in a totally different time period. When last we left our intrepid hero Figment and his pal Dreamfinder, they’d saved the world and were awarded for their good deeds by being stuck out of time for a century. As Jim Zub explained to our pals at the Disney Parks Blog, ‘[The pair is] now in the modern world, and they’re going to discover that a lot of things have changed in their absence… Couple that with a young dreamer inspired by the Academy Scientifica-Lucidus and a dark threat from an unexpected source, and we’ve got all the ingredients for high adventure’.” Check out D23 for more information.
Far Out Fairy Tales is a new, very odd graphic novel series for young readers from Stone Arch Books. And at least one of them is of note to furry fans: In Super Billy Goats Gruff, the three brothers named Gruff head off to get themselves some grass… and wind up trapped inside a video game! Now they face evil trolls with the powers of a warrior, a wizard, and a ninja! All brought to you in full color by writer Sean Tulien and illustrator Fernando Cano. It’s available now, and Capstone has more.
Caterwall is a fantasy comic series created, written, and illustrated by Spain Fischer. It’s had a convoluted creation and release history, on line and on paper, but now Sofawolf Press is offering the first of three planned full-color graphic novels. It’s called Caterwall: The Isle of Manx and it’s available in both hard and soft-cover editions starting this July. The story? Pax is a young cat in the peaceable Kingdom of Katia. He’s determined to become a noble, heroic knight like his famous father — but his antics and attitude mostly get him in trouble, and eventually get him banished. But he and his rag-tag band of friends are still determined to help the nearby dog kingdom in their war against the wolves of the north. Find out more over at the Sofawolf Press web site.
“Caught in a mad scientist’s experiment gone wrong, an ordinary house cat named Scratch gains the extraordinary ability to summon any of his nine lives to get out of a fix.” That’s the story behind Scratch 9, a well-known comic book series for young readers created by writer Rob M. Worley. Now Hermes Press have released the latest adventures of Scratch as a 176-page full-color graphic novel, Scratch 9: Cat of Nine Worlds. It’s illustrated by Joshua Buchanan and features a cover by Herobear creator Mike Kunkel. Find out more at the Scratch 9 web site and look for the book on shelves this month.
Note from the publisher, Alternative Comics. First, a bio of the creator: “Raoul Vezina (1948-1983) was a brilliant cartoonist who came out of the underground tradition and put his own mark on the indie comics of the early 1980s in a handful of titles.” And what’s he best known for? “Crisply and energetically drawn, snappily written, filled with pop culture references, and always funny; Raoul Vezina’s Smilin’ Ed comics were a breath of fresh air when they first appeared thirty-five years ago. All the original comics are collected here for the first time.” Including sixteen pages in full color, this 160-page trade paperback collection will be on shelves later this month.
[Back from having a blast at this year’s CaliFur! Good to see you all again.]
Beyond the Western Deep is a popular full-color on-line fantasy comic series written by Alex Kain and illustrated Rachel Bennett. Now the first story arc has been gathered together by Action Labs in a softcover graphic novel. “For over 100 years, the animal races of the Four Kingdoms have lived side-by-side in uneasy truce. But when conflict ignites in the north, old alliances threaten to send the world into chaos. Experience the beginnings of an epic all-ages fantasy in this first collected volume!” All ages perhaps but, as you can see from the web site, rather bloody too. The graphic novel is coming out later in June.
Meanwhile, in another part of the DC Comics universe… Vertigo to be exact. Astro City is of course the well-known “different take on the super-hero concept” comic written by Kurt Busiek. All sorts of characters waltz in and waltz out of its pages, and in Astro City #23, it’s an ape. Yes, Sticks is a talking gorilla, but he’s not in town to be a superhero… he just wants to play the drums in a rock band! This first issue of a 2-part story arc is illustrated by Brent Anderson with, of course, a painted cover by Alex Ross. Look for it now.
It has now been 9 months since a very well-known furry artist, James Hardiman, passed away. (Far too soon.) If you had a chance to meet Jim at a furry or comic book convention over the years, you might well have met Pauline Hardiman — she’s his mom, and was something of his business partner for his art sales. Recently, Pauline let it be known that she and Jim’s family are hard at work trying to complete and publish Jim’s last work: A Skunkworks graphic novel, starring the famous sexy skunk sisters Natasha, Lori, and Onyx (and their equally sexy mother, Valencia). Pauline has been working together with Jason Canty of Angry Viking Press to get the graphic novel in publishable shape. Currently Angry Viking Press is running a Kickstarter campaign to finance their latest batch of publications — and the Skunkworks graphic novel is among them. Check it out. There’s some further explanation from Pauline.